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Thoughts on Jury Duty

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Earlier this month, just before the new coronavirus shut down all large gatherings in my state, I reported to my county courthouse for a week of jury service.

I was one of 180 residents of my county tapped to serve that week—our names picked from our state’s driver’s license files. Apparently the county’s rationale is that, if you have the skills to drive a car or truck, you also have the skills to determine, based on the evidence presented to you, whether a defendant is innocent or guilty.

Even then, in the second week of March, more than a few of us were worried about Covid-19, the new coronavirus, and our heightened chances of being exposed to it. After all, while on jury service we would be seated side by side with total strangers for hours at a time in the poorly ventilated jury pool room in the basement of the county courthouse.

But the jury manager—who urgently needed jurors for the many trials scheduled that week—was not catering to our concerns.

In her introductory remarks, she told us about the lockers, microwave, vending machines, rest rooms and courthouse lunch counter. Finally, in a faint concession to what she called “that virus........

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